Posted on in Celebrating our Ministries by The Rev. David Marshall
Several weeks ago I went down to Tent City 3 to report a complaint I received from a neighbor about a crime that had occurred in the neighborhood. (It did not turn out to be someone from TC3, despite the certainty of the neighbor.) As I was sitting in the camp filling out an incident report, several people approached me. The first thanked me for hosting the camp. She had become homeless about three days earlier and just found her way to the camp and was grateful for a safe place to live. The next person that spoke to me simply expressed gratitude for his life. He said, “I woke up this morning in a dry tent, my hands both work, my feet work, I can stand and walk. I’m grateful to be alive.” He had recently lost friends to life on the street and was profoundly grateful to be in TC3 and for our congregation’s hospitality.
I was struck by the contrast between the complaints of the neighbor and the humble gratitude I encountered while I was writing the incident report. I can’t prove that no one from TC3 has been involved in crime in our area, and I can’t convince an angry neighbor that TC3 is not the cause of their complaints. What I can do is trust that we are called, as a Christian congregation, to humbly serve those in need: the widows and orphans, the poor and the hungry, the homeless and the lost.
We say goodbye to TC3 this weekend. They are moving to Bryn Mawr United Methodist Church in Renton. By Sunday morning, all the tents and most of the equipment will be gone. I am grateful to the people of TC3 for their time with us. I am grateful for their humble gratitude and for all that they have done to make this stay work. One of the people who spoke with me that day that I was filling out the incident report quoted Scripture: “As you have done to the least of these who are members of my family, you have done to me” (Matthew 25:40). She was grateful for our hospitality. I am grateful for her courage. I am also grateful for a congregation that has the courage and generosity to feed and host Tent City 3.
You can help say thank you and goodbye to TC3 on Saturday morning. Karen Tynes is leading a team to prepare a breakfast for the campers to give them a good start on the morning of this big move. Karen will be in the church kitchen starting at 6:30 and would welcome your participation.
Hosting TC3, and feeding TC3 as we do each Tuesday evening, are tangible ways we can give thanks to God by giving generously. Thank you for your support of both our hosting and feeding programs.
Yours in Christ,